Optimising for mobile 2019
Mobile site visits currently account for over 52 percent of web traffic worldwide. In countries like the US and UK, this number is closer to 60 percent. Even before 2019, having a good mobile site was essential if you wanted your business to retain and convert as many users as possible.
With the announcement of Google’s mobile first index, which means that the mobile version of a site will be used to determine the baseline for how well a site should rank, rather than the desktop version, makes mobile sites essential for search engine visibility as well as conversion.
If you want to make your site mobile-friendly or update an existing mobile site, it’s important to do it the right way. There are three common solutions for mobile sites:
m.example.com — the original solution; involves creating a separate site on an “m.” subdomain and redirecting mobile users to it
Dynamic serving — separate site designs are created for each device; the server loads the right one to the user depending on what device they’re using
Responsive — only one set of HTML code is created and maintained, but it’s rendered differently based on screen size
While all three solutions are viable, Google has explicitly named responsive as its preferred method.
Responsive design has multiple benefits. From Google’s perspective, it’s preferable because there are no redirects involved.
From the point of view of developers and web managers, it means you only need to deal with one set of HTML, which makes building, maintaining, and tracking the site much easier.
If you’re dealing with multiple sites through m. and dynamic serving, monitoring the customer journey becomes much harder, and we know that many conversion funnels involve visits from different devices.
In 2019 and beyond, it’s hard to think of situations where a responsive design isn’t the best mobile setup. While Google doesn’t actively punish non-responsive mobile sites, if they’ve listed it as their preferred mobile solution it’s reasonable to infer that they see some benefit from doing so.